Ho dynasty citadel – World Cultural Heritage Pride of Vietnam

Thanh Hoa province will receive UNESCO certification recognising the Ho dynasty citadel as a World Cultural Heritage site tomorrow.

The acknowledgement is the pride of Thanh Hoa province, as well the country as a whole, for the citadel’s unique construction symbolising the intelligence and efforts of the Vietnamese people more than six hundred years ago.

Since the citadel was awarded the accolade in June last year, the provincial authorities and relevant sectors have launched a number of activities to raise public awareness of its value and call to protect and preserve the complex.

The UNESCO certification ceremony will take place on June 16 at the citadel in Vinh Loc district, highlighted by a special arts programme entitled ‘Ho Dynasty Citadel – the Pride of Vietnam’. The 60-minute programme will revive a period of the country’s history and honour the world-recognised value of the citadel. The event, scripted by writer Chu Lai with consultancy from People’s Artist Le Tien Tho and Professor Phan Huy Le, will be broadcast live on Vietnam Television Channel 1.

Other activities will also take place at the site of the citadel, including a rural market with 100 booths displaying souvenirs and specialties from Thanh Hoa province and popular folk games from the Tran and Ho dynasties, as well as a display of photos, books and documents related to the citadel and the Ho dynasty, and a festival of songs from six northern central provinces.

Thanh Hoa’s hospitality sector is offering two new tours including the citadel, the Lam Kinh historical site, and Cam Luong spring in Cam Thuy district. The provincial People’s Committee will also host the Consultative Meeting of UNESCO National Commissions for the Asia Pacific region from June 15-17.

The provincial People’s Committee previously co-ordinated with the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) to hold a seminar entitled ‘Solutions to promote the value of the World Cultural Heritage Ho Dynasty Citadel’ on June 5, attracting the participation of many central and local social scientists, historical researchers, and museum and tourism managers. Nearly 50 speeches delivered at the seminar affirmed the need to preserve and advertise the citadel’s value while increasing State promotion of tourism in the province to further international integration.

Participants also stressed that it is essential to keep the inherent value of the citadel intact, in accordance with the Heritage Law and UNESCO regulations. They also urged provincial authorities to set up a display of objects related to the citadel that were found during excavations, as well as those collected by local residents.

The Ho dynasty citadel was built in 1397 amid beautiful natural surroundings between the Ma and Buoi Rivers in Vinh Loc district, Thanh Hoa province. The structure, which was built with huge blocks of stone, reflects the development of Vietnamese construction techniques and urban planning six centuries ago. The technique of manually cutting tonnes of stone blocks and fitting them precisely together to form 10 metre high archways has greatly impressed both Vietnamese and international scientists and engineers.

According to the head of the VNAT, Nguyen Van Tuan, the Ho dynasty citadel’s cultural value reaches far beyond the country. That the local authorities and people are fully aware of its significance is a prerequisite for developing tourism in harmony with preservation efforts.

The site should also be linked with other attractions in order to take full advantage of the potential of the region’s heritage.

The UNESCO certification ceremony is one of the activities to raise public awareness and is also the beginning of a series of events to connect the Ho dynasty citadel with other UNESCO World Heritage sites in Vietnam to preserve them and tap into their tourism potential.

Nhan Dan